We've received a few emails over the last few days from readers asking about switching to AT&T Next so that they can get the new iPhone 6 on Friday for no money down. AT&T has been notifying some customers who are mid-contract that they can switch to a Next plan at no charge, doing away with contracts going forward. Of course, there are those who are still under AT&T's grandfathered "unlimited" data plan, but others simply want to know if programs like AT&T Next and Verizon Edge are worth it, or if they're rip-offs. The thing is, early upgrade plans like Next and Edge basically allow you to divorce the act of owning and paying for a phone, from paying for cellular service. If you play your cards right, you'll actually come out ahead financially, and you'll be able to upgrade to a new device whenever you want. Let's walk through a scenario of buying a phone with AT&T Next.
All currently available mainstream plans feature two components: a data charge, and a line charge. We will ignore the data charge aspect from here on out, because it's the same regardless of what plan you choose.
AT&T Next offers you a lower monthly line charge ($15 less for data plans under 10GB, $25 less for 10GB and over) in exchange for them not giving you a large subsidy when you buy your phone. Next plans never involve a contract, and you can get out of them at any time, penalty free, by paying off the balance you owe on your phone.
Motorola's long-awaited foray into the smartwatch arena is now official with the release of the Moto 360. The Android Wear device features a 1.65-inch circular display that's covered in Gorilla Glass, making it resistant to scratches and shattering. The watch is also water-resistant. Other features include all-day battery life, built-in pedometer, optical heart rate monitor, and a leather watch band (Motorola plans to release metal bands later this fall.) Users can charge the device wirelessly with the included charging cradle.
What do you do when you’re out, need to charge your smartphone, and don’t have a charge cable on you? You get desperate. This can be easily avoided with the ChargeKey, and it’s our Deal of the Day in the Gear Live Deals Shop. You can get the ChargeKey for $24.99, and you’ll have a charger for your iPhone, Android device, Windows Phone, and even tablet, right on your keychain at all times. The ChargeKey is a shortened, ruggedized version of your smartphone charge cable that fits on your keyring—now you always have a cable on you.
The folks behind the Isis Wallet recently announced that the company would rebrand and change its name due to the rise of the ISIS Middle Eastern terrorist group in the public eye. A great decision to be sure, the company announced today that the Isis Wallet will shortly be known as Softcard. An app update will be pushed to the various app stores where Isis Wallet is available within a few weeks, and Softcard will take its place. No word on any new features at this time, as the company is looking to swiftly get the name change in place to distance itself from the militant group of a similar moniker.
Read More | Softcard
Today in the Gear Live Deals Shop we've got 70% off VPN Unlimited Premium as our Deal of the Day. For the next 6 days, VPN Unlimited is offering 3 years of VPN access for just $19. That is 36 months of VPN access, for roughly 53 cents per month. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better price anywhere. It’s a full account, so any upgrades or new features added over the next 3 years, you’d get access to them as well.
For those curious what a VPN is, it is a Virtual Private Network. It allows you to connect to any website anytime you have Internet access. All data sent through VPN is encrypted, which means your information is hidden from hackers or identity thieves. The other benefit is you get to choose the country of origin for your data. For example, means that if you are in Canada putting up with the abysmal WWE Network issues up there, you can instead connect with a VPN, set your country as USA, and get the full experience. Or if you're a Netflix subscriber traveling abroad, you can still access the content.
Aside from accessing the VPN on your PC or Mac, VPN Unlimited also has apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, and even Linux.
Head on over to the Gear Live Deals Shop to grab the 3-year VPN Unlimited offer for $19.
Here's how this is gonna go down: The grand prize winner will talk away with $150 in Google Play store credit. Second place gets $100. 15 other winners will each get $50 in credit. Ready to enter? Go get it:
We're giving away an Absolute LoJack Premium Family Pack--protect up to five of your mobile devices for a year with guaranteed recovery in the event of theft! We also talk about what happened when we went #DigitallyDark for 24 hours, giving up smartphones for a full day to see if we could do it. The results are in.
Today in the Gear Live Deals Shop we're offering a 28% discount on the SmartPlane. This is the world's first aircraft that is controlled by your smartphone, making it our Deal of the Day. You can use on-screen controls, or the accelerometer by tilting your device to steet the SmartPlane. It's made of durable EPP material, making it crash-proof, and Bluetooth Low Energy allows it to fly longer distances for a longer amount of time. You'll need an iPhone 4S or newer, 5th generation iPod touch, iPad 3 or newer, or an Android 4.3 device with Bluetooth Smart in order to fly one.
Google I/O 2014 kicks off today, with the big keynote starting at 9:00 AM PDT / 12:00 PM EDT, and you can join in and watch the presentation in the player above. What are we expecting to hear about during the Google I/O 2014 keynote? Well, the biggest piece of news will likely be the reveal of the next version of Android, likely Android 5.0. We'll get a look at the future of Android smartphones and tablets, in addition to set-top boxes. Google will be showing off a new Android TV set-top box, which is interesting since Google TV hardware failed so miserably over the last few years. Wearables should also be big today, with Google Glass and Android Wear devices getting some stage time. Google also typically releases Google+ updates during the I/O keynote as well.
What are you hoping to hear about from Google this morning?
We are going #DigitallyDark, giving up our smartphones for a full 24 hours as part of the challenge thrown down by Absolute LoJack.
We talk about our thoughts on having a smartphone or laptop stolen, and talk about the #DigitallyDark challenge, which you can join us in doing!
The fact of the matter is that smartphone and laptop theft are running rampant, and once your device is gone, it's near impossible to get it back. Even the built-in tools can be circumvented. Absolute LoJack takes device recovery to the next level. They'll locate, lock, delete, and even guarantee recovery of your Mac, PC, or Android device. You can get 30% off of Absolute LoJack until 6/30 with promo code: DARK30.
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